All you hippy losers who thought Doctor Who was whimsical family entertainment can leave now: Eric Saward is back, and he’s brought enough guns with him to make Charlton Heston feel insecure about his masculinity. Only Beryl Reid can save us! It’s Earthshock.
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Notes and links
When we first see the crudely-realised dinosaur fossils in the cave wall in Part 1, Malcolm Clarke treats us to a little musical reference to the Fossils movement in The Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns.
Sometimes beloved Doctor Who cast members wrangle upsettingly on Twitter, and when that happens, it’s the duty of a Doctor Who podcaster to put on a velvet fairy costume and call them out. Which is what Nathan does here.
Whatever his qualities as a writer and script editor (and they are few), Eric Saward was amazingly able to draw inspiration for this story from films that hadn’t even been written yet, including Aliens (1986), and the prescient and criminally underrated Starship Troopers (1997).
Fans of Beryl Reid will enjoy her star turn as a murderous lesbian in The Killing of Sister George (1968). They will also enjoy her guest role on The Goodies, as thinly-veiled Mary Whitehouse analogue Mrs Desirée Carthorse, in the brilliantly hilarious episode Gender Education, which you should watch if you really want to know how to make babies by doing dirty things.
This story recklessly replaced a script called The Enemy Within by acclaimed English novelist Christopher Priest, who had previously had a script rejected for Season 17. Surprisingly, it has never been dramatised by Big Finish.
Eighties Cyberleader and Darth Vader impersonator David Banks wrote a horrific coffee table book called Cybermen (1989), in which he makes a futile and deeply inadvisable attempt to turn three decades of appalling Cybernonsense into a coherent narrative. Best avoided.
Spoiler alert: Adric snuffs it at the end of this story, so this is our last chance to plug Matthew Waterhouse’s elegiac and entertaining autobiography Blue Box Boy. (Amazon US) (Amazon UK) (Amazon AU)
Brendan is on Twitter as @critiqaltheory, Nathan is @nathanbottomley, Todd is @toddbeilby, and Richard is @RichardLStone. The Flight Through Entirety theme was arranged by Cameron Lam. You can follow the podcast on Twitter at @FTEpodcast.
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Doctor Who in 10 Seconds
Today Brendan released the fifth (sixth?) video in his ongoing series Doctor Who in 10 Seconds, in which he dextrously summarises all that endless base-under-siege nonsense from Doctor Who Series 5. To watch all of videos in the series, visit the webpage or, better still, subscribe to it on YouTube.
We’re still in a holding pattern over at Bondfinger, steeling ourselves for our upcoming recording of the unjustly maligned Moonraker (1979). While you wait, you can listen to our previous commentaries, including The Spy Who Loved Me, The Man with the Golden Gun and Live and Let Die. You can find all of our commentaries on our website, and you can keep up with all the Bondfinger news on Twitter and Facebook.